Question: What is a great holiday gift?

Hint Hint . . .

I'm sitting in a cafe in Durango right now. Minutes ago I was chatting with a girl at the table next to me, we just met. She was putting together a few things I revealed about myself like that I'm from T or C, NM and wrote a book last year. She looked at me curiously and asked, "Is your book The Good Life Lab?" "Yes!" I answered in surprise. She bought the book for her mom last year. Her mom loved it. I decided to read this as the universe's way of reminding me to remind you, that The Good Life Lab is a great holiday gift.

Get it on Amazon
Get it from the Holy Scrap Store

Durango - Animas Mountain

This was our first hike on Durango's Animas Mountain.


Close Up Shop

Close Up Shop

We have had a few surprise freezes this week. This big one hits on Sunday night when we will drop into the teens. I've been covering our raised beds with plastic and cotton sheets. The hot crops below have been okay, but any tomatoes sticking out felt the freezer burn. Tonight is expected to have a low of 19F with windchill. As long as our kale, beets, green onion and chard keep producing I'm happy.

Beard Beer

Beard Beer Appropriate beer for Movember. This guys beard was used as the yeast culture to make the beer. Nicely done, Rogue.


I'll Be Coming Around the Mountain

Thanks to some outdoor friends I've finally seen the light on how to run around our local Turtleback Mountain. Earlier this week I had been exploring a short cut, but the terrain made it less than desirable. Now I see that by adding two miles I should be able to run around the Turtle which is about a marathon length (~26 miles). I'm psyched about the new route because the elevation is a little easier, there are two water sources and exclusively trails and jeep roads. It will probably take five hours to complete due to the elevation. This Sunday or Monday I'll make an attempt for it probably with a friend or two.

We have a Running Club

We found some trail runners to share our mountain with. Last week we did a full moon run together and this week we did a eight mile run up Sidewinder. We will continue to do weekly runs across the Rio Grande. I'm looking forward to seeing others on the trails as we share our favorite routes. Updates available on the "Run from TorC" Facebook Page.

Crackers: Dehydrated Juice Pulp with Kimchi Juice

Sounds delicious, right? What could be more tasty then carrot and sweet potato pulp combined with kimchi juice remains. These crackers came out amazing! A new book from Storey Publishing called "Fermented Vegetables" turned us onto the idea of adding our leftover ferment juice to the pulp from our juicer to make crackers with a kick.

Fondue Party

We had a 70's themed fondue party for Wendy's birthday last week. After scrubbing cheese and caramel off of the pots for two days I can see why people abandoned this form of cooking. What a mess, but it was a blast.

A New Sewer Connection

Last weeks productivity was lost to an emergency repair on our sewer line. After lots of digging and pipe replacement we have a good connection to the city sewer. The plumber we worked with and the city were both awesome at expediting the new line.

Finally Performance Art

When people say of a place, "it is an art town," I wonder what they mean. They say it of Truth or Consequences all the time, and they mean that we have painters, a couple of mixed media artists, a metal artist or two. What is always missing (for me) is performance art. I know, if I'm going to say this than I should do something about it. I should perform art. I'm no stranger to conceptual street art.  There are a couple of pieces I've considered producing. But today I'm celebrating not complaining.  Last Saturday night Katie Renault appeared in front of Nerd Night, a now annual show by T or C's youngest posse of artists that include media's such as textiles, paint, illustration and now performance art! Katie's piece featured a orbital glow'y martian like costume she wore while positioned on a platform that featured text that contextualized her vision of aliens as they relate to the Virgin Galactic Spaceport. And yes she stood as still as stone for half the night. Yay Katie.


This Week's Winner Sonja and Jessica

I announced in a previous post that each week I'll be giving prizes to folks who by ordering a copy of The Good Life Lab are entered into a drawing. Sonja ordered two copies even though she'd read the book already. She'll be gifting one to her daughter. She wrote,

Thank you for writing this book. I've read it once as a e-book, and it was resonated so deeply with my beliefs and values that I want to have a hard copy, and share one with my daughter. You have captured in words what I have felt for 30 years. 

I never tire of these sentiments! Sonja's prize is foam core board mounted illustration of Everything That I Love Is Free, from The Good Life Lab. Here's a pic of her and her daughter. They're both beautiful don't ya think? 


We Won Best Costume

At the local Alyce in Wonderland holiday party Wendy and I won best costume this year. Her Red Queen combined with my White Rabbit. Nobody recognized her.


The Circumference of Forever

The whole story can never be told, 
suffice it to say, the inside and outside coincide 
and we all come from the circumference of forever.  -Tomas Myers

Saturday – November 15, 2014 10am to 10pm 

A Day of Contemplative Practices in the Sufi Tradition: Dances of Universal Peace, Wazifah, Meditation, and Chant

Led by visiting teachers Tara Andrea, Maboud Swierkosz and local host Wendy Jehanara Tremayne

Location: Grapes Gallery, 407 Main St., Truth or Consequences, New Mexico 

10am-12:30pm  Morning Session
12:30pm-2:00pm Pot Luck Lunch or (lunch on your own) 
2:15pm-5:15pm Afternoon Session
5:30pm-7:00pm Pot Luck Dinner or (dinner on your own) 
7:15pm-9:15pm  Evening Zikr Program


Sliding Scale $50.00-$75.00 for the entire day/evening OR $20.00--$25.00 per session.

Beauty Health Net Blog Is Fired Up By The Good Life Lab

I was delighted to discover a review of The Good Life Lab today on the blog, Beauty Health Net.  The reviewer called the book, The under-the-wire living breathing manifestation of a new way of living informed by a politically savvy and socially aware generation fired up by the joy of creating. Click to read the rest. . .  (alternatively click here) 

Don't forget, The Good Life Lab is a great holiday gift! 


The Best Holiday Gifts Are Wishes

It is early to be reflecting on 2014, New Years Day is weeks ahead. But the smell of autumn triggers nostalgia. I remember how Mikey and I spent the past decade living by pledges that changed everything. We purchased land, built a home and learned to make, clothing, fuel, and community. We wrangled free of what bound us and put our trust in nature. Our prize for doing so was common sense, our portion of the wisdom inherent in all that lives. Then I gathered up every bit of what I learned and I put it in a book that I titled The Good Life Lab.

At our start in 2006 living gently on the earth was not yet trendy, neither was a decommodified lifestyle. After the 08’ stock market crash and new evidence that climate change was real, movements started up. Green trends followed. People gardened and learned who Monsanto is. But just a few years’ later and inspiration lilts. We are weary from the weight of the disaster that may be our fate. Greener products won’t save us. We return to shopping with a few better options like organics. 

Why weren’t we transformed? Where was the escape hatch to a world we are capable of imagining? While on my book tour I noticed that people see a clear image of a better world and they describe it similarly, a healthy and vibrant planet, an economic model that abolishes poverty and distributes resources to all, meaningful work, having enough to live, harmony between nations and people. I wonder about why this dream is so hard to get off the ground. 

While driving back from Albuquerque the other day I listened to a TED Talk about creativity. People like Sting were interviewed and so were scientists who were trying to pin down creativity by aiming MRI’s at the brains of improvisational musicians like Keith Jarrett. All agreed that creativity is the result of turning off the part of the brain located in the frontal cortex that identifies with self. It is the part that says things like, “what will people think?” or “what if I fail?” Sting said that creativity is the result of being willing to fall on your face in front of everyone. They know that willingness to fail is an act that requires trust in something unseen and belief that something not yet created may become because of you, through you.

Some people thought my book was philosophical. My publisher categorized it a memoir. They also called it gifty. When The Good Life Lab book won the Nautilus award it was for sustainability. The Los Angeles review of books compared me to Aldus Huxley and what I wrote to Walden. People find it in bookstores filed under building. On the surface my book teaches how to make bio diesel, clothing, building materials, power, and food. I share what I know about how to live out of the waste stream and find new income streams. The lessons and stories are structures for the telling of something more significant. The Good Life Lab is about making a promise. A sacred promise is different from promising to recycle, or reduce carbon emissions by riding a bike to work. A sacred promise involves trust in something that there may be no concrete evidence of, something that is perhaps imaginary. We did this when we chose an ideal and then lived by it. Then we listened, not with our brains but with our hearts. When wisdom came we trusted it even though it was not a match with the cultural milieu.

My book is written and I’m done touring to promote it. My homestead is less interesting to me than it was before I wrote it. Built and functioning it needs me less. My heart looks to wilder terrain in order to connect to nature, things like backpacking and trail running. I’m considering starting up a new non-profit project. Unlike the green movement that left people weary and reluctantly returning to unhealthy habits head hung low still gripping a lilted wish for a better world, Mikey and I continually grow in the direction of our original wish. Our energy is ever increasing. We are interested.  I believe that this is due to the wish we made. Hazrat Inayat Khan once said, “The one whose desire is not fulfilled did not know how to desire.” His son Pir Vilayat taught that wisdom arises from the interaction between inherent knowledge or truth and acquired knowledge from embodied experience (among other things). This is a match for my own experience, which tells me that the rationalists were wrong. Truth is sensory. Without human imagination and heart we cannot get to the world that we are capable of dreaming of because our ideas cannot take flight. When Mikey and I dreamed aloud (at risk of falling on our face) our promise (to preserve life) led to knowledge from within and without. I believe this is so because our wish was for life, of which we are a part. Once connected to life a living being may claim their dispensation of it, their common sense. Real wisdom, we soon discovered, is not subject change due to trend, and it does not tire under the weight of the world. It does not run out.

This post is long. I apologize. My aim was to share a secret. It is true that The Good Life Lab is a book about being a maker of things. It will show you how to decommodify your life at a time in which the whole world is for sale. But the heart of my book is about desire. Its real aim is to show you how to make a wish that will be fulfilled.

While I was on my book tour folks six or a dozen copies of The Good Life Lab as gifts for friends and relatives. My publisher was right the book is gifty. To encourage you to share The Good Life Lab with your loved ones this holiday season I’ve come up with ways to thank you by giving you gifts.

Each week leading up to New Years Day I will pull a name from a hat that contains the names of those who’ve placed an order that week. Winner chooses from the below prizes (until they run out).

One of four color illustrations from The Good Life Lab 11’X14” mounted on foam core board.
The Groping Woobie - a wearable spooning blanket from pg. 45 in the chapter Broken Heart Meets Giant Band Aid 64” X 80" handmade by Wendy.
Hangable paper prayer flags that read “holy scrap.”
Battery desulfator handmade by Mikey.
One of three Holy Scrap gift packs containing botanical medicines wildcrafted from medicinal plants of southwest handmade by Wendy. 

Ways To Enter (click drop down for three options) 

(one ship to address please, if you need items to ship to multiple addresses shipping will be added)

I’m happy to sign and personalize books and the illustrated art pieces. Just include a request with your order. Good luck, and thank you for your tremendous support.
May all of your wishes come true! – Wendy


Things To Do With Antlers

When I was living in New York I hardly thought about antlers. Now I find them on hikes and around town at at yard sales. The other day I decided to give these a little extra color. Whatta ya think?


Sufi Winter Schedule

As you may know, here in Truth or Consequences I lead a contemplative Sufi group. Please feel welcome to drop in on us should you find yourself in town. And please do consider coming to town to our very special winter retreat. It is a wonderful opportunity to do deep inner work. You need not have any previous experience or knowledge of Sufism to join in these events.


Transformed Trash

I recently posted about an experiment I was trying out. I sent broken, old jewelry to an Etsy designer that I chose to remake the items into beautiful new jewelry. By using old parts and supplying my own materials I was able to afford jewelry that I otherwise could not. I loved working with Saara. She is genuinely talented, great at communicating and she designs beautiful pieces. The experiment could not have turned out better so I'm recommending her to you. Saara's designs contain whimsy while being organic and earthy. To see the materials I sent her go back to my first post about it. Posted here is the pic of what she made for me. The three rings swivel when I wear them and so they always look different. All three stones are different heights with different sized mounts, the rings vary as well, polished to matted finish. It is positively lovely and Saara and I are already working on a pair of earrings. You can find her store, Saara Reidsema, here and of course you may write to her if you have custom work. Enjoy!


Five Days in Utah's Grand Gulch

We enjoyed our longest backpacking trip ever, five days in Utah’s Grand Gulch. We covered about thirty miles in total, it was slow going at times due to technical terrain, drank from puddles, and saw lots of ruins. I wouldn’t have done anything different. We packed the right food, gear, and clothing.  Our packs were at 25 lbs each including equipment, food for the entire trip, and 2 liters of water each. We even managed to forage enough oyster mushrooms for several meals. 5 Days in Utah's Grand Gulch 5 Days in Utah's Grand Gulch 5 Days in Utah's Grand Gulch